Stephanie's Blog

Growing, growing, growing

The lushness of spring bursts open into green, feel the sun on your skin and take in the deep smell of earth after the rain...

How open are your senses? How open is your heart? Are you in a worried state of constantly waiting or stuck in paralyzing ambivalence? How kind is your internal dialog?

This is a time for massive growth, healing and renewal.

Maybe you've had some incredibly challenging life experiences or situations in your past.

Maybe you are going through something spiritually or emotionally painful or challenging so that you can't seem to move forward in your life at all.

Do you feel closed off in your body? where do you feel this pain?

I look at all challenging situations and experiences as an opportunity for healing and growth vs. a time to stay stuck or beat yourself up. Your health depends on it.

I know how this feels-being so stuck in painful relationship patterns, holding onto old grief and hurt, or remaining in any place you are no longer growing (career, relationship, home environment, friendships, etc.) until you are a shell of yourself-left  feeling deadened and depressed, lethargic, eating poorly, perhaps struggling with weight gain every year, or chronic illness, telling yourself you will make changes that you are never able to accomplish on your own.

then BAM!
perhaps you are struck by an emotional and spiritual crisis that forces you to face yourself. To look inward and then take action.

If you are here reading, I congratulate you. You are almost there! It takes real courage to look at the places you are stuck and make actual changes and massive transformation. It's scary!

For most of us, change also brings with it feelings of loss. Even if it is loss of something we are ready to part with (old belief about ourselves, outgrown relationship or dead-end career) it doesn't make the loss any easier. Often, it triggers old wounds and fears and that's where we become so paralyzed we don't move at all...
 
If you are suffering right now, I ask you
how long are you willing to remain in this amount of pain?  How long can you afford to let your life stay in one place without wreaking havoc on your personal life, career, family and health?

If you feel that tug, that internal pull and knowing that transformation is ready to burst from within: LISTEN.
your life depends on it!

Have you ever felt like the character in a book? That life is happening to you instead of you being the one living your life?
Often change happens when an event occurs acting as an outside catalyst sweeping massive change. Wouldn't you like to be the one acting as the internal catalyst in your own life?
Making choices for YOU. So your life is not a series of experiences HAPPENING to you, you are an active participant in your life.

There are always challenges that present or unforeseen accidents or situations but when you have the right tools, you can tackle life from a place of empowerment instead of working from a place of being a "victim" of life.
I gently encourage you to listen and develop your intuition.



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Decisions, Decisions

Are too many decisions to make leaving you feeling divided? Are you confused by your ever changing internal compass and not sure which way to go?

During times of stress and uncertainty our body can go into fight or flight mode when fear of the unknown kicks in-especially when up against making life-altering decisions: some big ones include moving, changing jobs, changes in relationships or relationship structures, etc. 

When feeling overwhelmed, we can also go into frozen-mode, where we're so unsure of what move to make we make no move at all. 

How do we get out of this in between place and listen to the voice that tells us what we really need to do?

One big marker is listening to your body's reaction and tuning into your emotional energy levels around a decision. If you start to move in a certain direction but you are constantly and overwhelmingly exhausted, or unusually stressed and feeling unhealthy as a result, you may be moving too fast, or it may be that you are not doing what is right for you at the moment. If you are stuck between two places, paying attention to which decision gives you more energy and is flowing without effort can give you the information you need to tell you what you need to do.

Change is difficult and can be scary. If you are feeling fearful, it doesn't necessarily mean that you are on the wrong path, in fact it may signal that you are growing.  If you are feeling overwhelmed, take this as a signal to slow down and give yourself some time and space. 


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Resisting Change

We all do it.

We feel change coming and we put all of our efforts and energy into keeping things the same, even if they are no longer serving us.  We do it in our relationships, with our bodies, our thoughts, at our jobs, with our children. It's exhausting!

But the saying goes-What we resist persists.

And I'm finding this to be truer and truer in my own life and in my client's lives.  The urge to resist change and keep predictability in our lives comes from an old place that we all know, a way of keeping us safe-otherwise we'd be in fight or flight mode all of the time.

But practicing finding little ways of letting go daily can help ease the pain of having to deal with the inevitable loss that accompanies change. You can let go of fear and surrender into the beauty of a moment.  You can let go of thoughts that are constantly putting you in a bad mood. You can let go of old material things that no longer fit in your life. You can invite change in many ways.  When you stop avoiding, you also can stop the suffering that happens with resistance. 

Where or what can you let go of today?
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On Ruts and Fear

Stuck in a Rut?

You're not alone.  Wonder how you got there and why you can't get out?
The answer is both easy and difficult. 
Whether it's a food rut, emotional rut, career or relationship rut/hole/deep dark place, etc.  it is plain and simple.  The culprit is FEAR!
Fear of the unknown wrapped up with fear of change and fear of letting go, fear of loss, and the biggest, fear of being unloved.


Continue reading On Ruts and Fear.

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Get in your boat, trust that it will float

Everyone is fearful of change.  There is so much wrapped up in just the idea of it that most of us would much rather cling to the old, worn and familiar ways than try something new or tread some new path.  When it's happening to us directly, we can feel as if the earth is moving under us, caught in our own personal earthquake.  And then when we are shaking things up for change, it can be equally scary for those around us because it forces THEM to change as well. 

Somethings I've noticed about change:

You will want to go back: old relationships or relationship patterns, self-defeating habits, self-destructive tendencies, bad eating habits, all the ways we have of holding ourselves back from being the fullest expression of our selves.  We are creatures of familiarity and crave routine as much as this bores us to death.  We love eating the same foods over and over again, as much as they make us sick and do nothing to nourish us.

So get in your boat.  It will float.  It will be rocky for sure, but slowly pull away from the dock, feel the panic and pull to go back.  But know that you will be perfectly fine, and there is so much to find and explore along the way.
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Love Attracts Love

Love Attracts More Love. 

This is the thought I have been thinking again and again lately. It seems to me such a simple thought, but an important one to me.  

How is love present in your life right now?  Are you getting as much as you need? Are you giving as much as you'd like or are you holding back in some way to protect yourself from fear of rejection or old hurt and pain?

Most importantly, to truly be able to give and receive love fully and openly in any relationships, it all starts in how you feel about yourself: how you care for yourself body, mind and spirit and tend to your own needs and desires-which may seem selfish to most of us-but is the most important step before even being able to accept another person's love into your heart.

How can you be more loving to yourself? How is your relationship to your own body? How do you nourish yourself? When you look at yourself in the mirror do you see someone you love, who is loved or someone who doesn't feel worthy of such love?

It takes so much time and kindness, forgiveness and self-care to fully love ourselves and no amount of love from another person can bring us that self-love we so need in order to fully love another.  If we are constantly looking for outside love and adoration and approval, we are really just looking to see ourselves reflected back in the other and that is a very temporary fix. 

Love yourself, love spreads infinitely, then comes right back.

 
 


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Visualization: A powerful tool to change your life

Most of us would like to change some aspect of our lives for the better, but most often we don't know where to start.  Dreams, fantasies and visions are the first step on this path.  These are our mind's powerful signs to pay attention to; often times our heart telling us what we really want and need to do. With less time to lead contemplative lives, we often pass off the daydreams or visions we may have for ourselves.  We feel guilt at having quiet time to go inward, "do nothing" and pay attention to what we really need for ourselves to be truly happy.  When we envision our lives with purpose and feeling, we are more open to inviting that energy into our lives, and with that, opportunities to get what we really want.

If you'd like to start envisioning changes in your life, here are some ideas to get you started.

Journaling
-a wonderful way to find out what you really want and to practice truth and being honest about your feelings, desires and dreams without anyone else judging you.  Journaling takes practice, and has the most benefit when you are brutally, brutally honest with yourself.
1st step, get yourself a journal you are drawn to aesthetically that you will want to pick up again and again.  Better yet, make your own! Next step, set aside some time when you will be relaxed and can write freely.  It doesn't have to be long or even daily but the more you practice the easier it will flow.

Dream Tracking-We get subtle clues about our lives and desires in our dreams.  We often feel compelled to tell others about our dreams, and sometimes they are so vivid we have trouble distinguishing them from real life.  Writing down your dreams, either in a journal or a dream journal, you wil be able to start to notice any reoccuring themes, and give yourself clues into any fears or anxieties that may be holding you back from accomplishing your goals.  Since dreams are often fleeting, it's best to keep a notebook beside your bed and write as soon as you wake up or you may find that dream may be lost by the time you get around to jotting it down.

Create a Rich Fantasy Life-Why do so many of us think fantasizing is a waste of time? How many times are we told to "get real".  Why do we push our fantasies away, even when they are enjoyable? Most of us are afraid of never really getting what we truly desire, and some of us are afraid of what would happen if the fantasy DID come true. Indulge yourself, let your fantasies go.  The more you enrich your fantasy life, the more clues you will be given by the frequency and reoccurring nature of your fantasy.  The fantasies you have most often are the ones that are telling you to take action.

 



 

 




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Eating In: Save Money, Feel Better

If you don't typically cook your meals at home, chances are more of your paycheck is going to take-out and restaurant meals than you even realize.  This really adds up.  You may also have the best intentions of cooking but because of poor planning or lack of energy or being too hungry when it comes time to cook, you break down and order out and by the end of the week most of the food you had planned to cook during the week ends up in the trash. 

 In my programs I help others by teaching them how to plan meals and shop effectively, and how to cook delicious meals at home with fresh, whole ingredients.   You will save money and have more control over what is going into your food, and into your body. It's amazing the changes I see in my client's lives when cooking is reintegrated into their routines.

Top Five Reasons to Cook at Home:

 
-Add up a typical week's expenses for meals and snacks bought out.  If you buy 1-2 meals  out per day plus a coffee or other snacks, it could easily be costing you over $25 per day-that's over $175/week.

-Cook once, eat twice. In my programs, I recommend whole-food meals that are as simple to prepare as they are delicious and you will most likely be able to eat it more than once.  For example, if you cook a big pot of brown rice, you can make a stir fry and then use the unused portion for a breakfast porridge or a sweet treat such as rice pudding.

-Cooking is healing.  Chopping vegetables, measuring, stirring and tending to food with care can be meditative and relaxing.  Taking the time to cook for yourself and your family is deeply nourishing for both body and spirit.

 -You know what exactly is going into your food.  As you become more aware of what you are eating and feeding as fuel to your body and cells, the quality of this fuel becomes very important.  For instance, when eating out, chances are the quality of cooking oils is questionable, and most likely the produce or meats are not organic unless specifically stated.

-Bonding at home over meals makes families and relationships stronger.  With most of the day spent outside the home and families separated for work and school, eating a home cooked meal, conversing and talking about your day, laughing, looking at each other and listening is a way to reconnect that most of us are literally starved for.  Also, in the comfort of home, we are able to relax more, making digestion more efficient.     
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Yin/Yang of Food

Feeling out of balance?

Yin and Yang qualities are based on the Chinese philosophy of opposites which can describe food and lifestyle choices.  Some say it can be an oversimplified way of thinking, and on the other hand it can be said that the simplicity allows one to be able to easily see the imbalance in a person being diet, lifestyle or relationship.  We all have some of each quality but usually we are one more than the other.  In terms of diet, it can be a way to breakdown cravings: for example, if you eat too many raw foods (Yin), you may crave cooked or over cooked (Yang) foods to compensate for the imbalance.  If you eat a lot of salty food (Yang) you may have strong craving for sweets (Yin).

Some qualities governing Yin include:

Cool, dark, feminine
Energetic: upward energy, expansive 
Emotion/Mind: sensitive, spacey, scattered, happy
Food: raw, alcohol, sugar, baked goods, candy, soda, fruit

Qualities governing Yang include:
Hot, light, masculine
Energetic: contractive energy, inward
Emotion/Mind: anger, aggression, grounded, focused, strong
Food: cooked, meat, salty, eggs, chicken, beef, fried food

The traditional American diet is very Yang.  We are an aggressive, fast-food nation that has grown up most recently (as of the late 60's) as children of highly processed, convenience foods, eating meat twice or more a day, eggs for breakfast and salty snacks in between.  Then we wonder why we are having cravings for sugary sodas, candy bars, ice cream and pastries.  The body has a way to try to fix the imbalance-crave the food that is the opposite!

Recommended reading:
The book Food & Healing by Annemarie Colbin




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Why I Like Finding Bugs in My Food

While husking an ear of organic corn I found a nice, juicy worm munching away at his dinner (and mine).  I don't mind sharing my food with insects, and I feel even better if they are alive when I find them as this is proof that my food has not been sprayed with a chemical that kills.

This is food I feel good about giving to my family, and makes me think twice when I have the choice between going with organic or conventionally grown produce. 

But what to do when access to organic is not possible or beyond budget?

The Organic Center has just released a list of conventionally grown produce with the most pesticide exposure so you can feel comfortable picking conventionally grown fruits and vegetables with the least amount of harmful chemical residues, and stay away from the ones with the most. 

The "ORGANIC ESSENTIALS" POCKET GUIDE FOR MINIMIZING PESTICIDE DIETARY RISKS" can be downloaded for free at www.organic-center.org
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About Me

portrait.jpg Stephanie Lazzara
Transformational Life Coach
(917) 975-9256
Contact Me

I am a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and a professional life coach certified through the International Coaching Federation and the coaching program Coaching for Transformation.

My coaching practice combines my ten plus years as a professional coach as well as my expertise and background in dance, movement and yoga.

My coaching addresses the whole person and aims to go deep, where true transformation happens.

I currently live and work in Brooklyn, NY.

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